RIEHLE, BARBARA (SCOTTI)
beloved mother of Anna and Peter, wife of Thom, and daughter of the late Rita W. (Dwyer) Scotti and the late Dr. Ciro O. Scotti, died on April 18 at George Washington University Hospital in Washington. She was 65.
Barbara was born in Providence and educated at Elmhurst Academy and Lincoln School. She moved to Washington in 1974 to attend American University, where she earned a degree in international relations and Soviet studies.
In her teens, Barbara began working for U.S. Senator John Chafee as a campaign volunteer and after college joined his Senate staff and became a longtime aide. She later worked for Senator Lincoln Chafee.
A lifelong Republican, BSR – as she was known to many – relished the rough-and-tumble of public life especially if she was trading political punches with Thomas Riehle, a staunch Democrat but highly regarded nonpartisan pollster. Barbara met Thom at a party in 1985 and the sparks lit up that Halloween night. They were married in 1986 and raised two children in Washington, Anna, and Peter. Both Thom and Peter predeceased Barbara.
Barbara's tenacity as a passionate community activist and public servant was matched only by her physical courage. Throughout her life, she had to battle serious illnesses repeatedly and despite all odds, she prevailed. And she did so without a whimper.
Barbara loved the beach, and she and her family spent summers in Narragansett, RI, where her idea of bliss was a humor-filled cocktail hour (perhaps spiced with a bit of gossip) and a steamed lobster.
For all whom she touched, Barbara was extraordinary.
Barbara is survived by her loving daughter, Anna, whose graduation from Georgia Tech with an MS and MBA she was able to witness in her last hours; three sisters, Paula Shevlin of RI; Elena Scotti of Maine; Alicia Scotti Mandel of New York City: four brothers, Ciro, Frank, Peter, and Joseph Scotti, all of RI; 23 nieces and nephews.
A funeral will be held in Rhode Island in May; a memorial service in Washington will be announced at a later date. Donations in Barbara's memory may be made to the Holy Comforter/St. Cyprian's Community Action Group, Capitol Hill Village, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Capitol Hill Montessori or an organization of your choice. Condolences may be left at www.monahandrabblesherman.com